On Friday 27th February we held our Sponsored Walk Day in aid of the Genesis Breast Cancer Unit, Wythenshawe Hopsital.
Please bring in your sponsor money as soon as you can and huge thanks to those who have already brought their money in - well done!
Headteacher’s Weekly Bulletin
Friday 27th March 2015
If you recall, last week I had to leave the bulletin in the more than capable hands of Mrs Tasker, my God-send of a PA, as I swanned off to London for the annual school leaders’ conference. It was, as always, an informative and at times inspiring event. Inevitably, there was the financial ‘doom and gloom’ from the political classes as school budgets are set to fall in real terms post General Election, and I was disappointed that the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, spoke for 45 minutes but didn’t actually say a great deal. The weekend was a stark reminder, if one were needed, of the huge amount of change being heaped upon us in an absurdly short time period. We will, as always, cope with the change and our pupils will not be disadvantaged (Wellington has, in recent times, always done well under any measure and will continue to do so) but one just wishes that those in power, of whatever persuasion, applied a little common sense when making decisions that impact the lives of our young people.
There were some excellent speakers, a number of which resonated with my aims and ambitions for Wellington School. I particularly enjoyed hearing the thoughts of Geoff Barton, a Headteacher and literacy ‘guru’ from Norfolk, and Professor Steve Peters, consultant psychiatrist and author of The Chimp Paradox, a book I would recommend. The key, following such events, is to now make time to share one’s thoughts with colleagues and progress any ideas for school improvement that may have arisen during the weekend.
The 2014 GCSE results seem a long time ago now but due to the unparalleled success of this cohort the ecstasy lingers, and it would seem that others have noted our success too. On my return to School this week I was delighted to receive this mailing from the SSAT about the School’s performance last summer;
I am writing to congratulate you, your staff and students on your exceptional performance last year. Your school is in the top 20% of non-selective schools nationally for attainment in the 2014 end of KS4 examinations. This is based on your students’ best 8 average point scores at KS4. This national recognition follows SSAT’s annual in-depth analysis of official DfE data on all state-funded schools in England. The School has qualified for an SSAT Educational Outcomes Award by being in the top 20% of non-selective schools national for high average grades achieved by students. You have been invited to receive your award at a regional celebration ceremony hosted by SSAT at St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool in April.
Sue Williamson stated ‘Wellington School should be congratulated for their exceptional achievement. They have proved themselves to be leading the field in improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is so much good practice that this school could share, and I hope they will join us at the celebration evening for the chance to network and share strategies with award-winning schools. These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Wellington School, and show what can be achieved when skilled teachers have high expectations and ambitions for every young person.’
An update on the Sponsored Walk monies for Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention – we have now reached the dizzy heights of £34,700 thanks to all the hard work of our students collecting in their sponsor money. Can we reach our record total of £37,000 by the end of next week? Please, if you know you son / daughter has yet to bring in their sponsor money, encourage them to do so before we finish for Easter, next Thursday 2nd April at 12.30pm. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this most worthwhile cause.
I was delighted to hear of a wonderful initiative that took place in my absence last Friday which had been kept ‘under wraps’ until the day. Miss Spencer provides us with this explanation;
“Today Wellington was a part of ‘The Hopeful Project’. This was 10-0’s chance to persuade you – and their peers – that ‘Generation Y’ are not a bunch of ne’er do wells; they’re kind, considerate and they want to make the world a better place.
It was an idea that came from the pupils, not from the staff. A few weeks ago Abbie Wilson, Sarah Hill, Liv McLean, Alice Buxton-Perkins and Hope Cooke went into Altrincham and spent a day attempting to make people’s lives better with little acts of kindness. They made a video of their quest, please do give it a watch – it’s lovely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs2TMJ7Ou8w
‘The Hopeful Project’ was driven by 10-0. The whole class spent their registration time handing out flowers, sweets and kind words, wrapping the school in a swathe of colourful, kind messages affixed to post-it notes. The aim was for staff to perceive how wonderful they are for facilitating the future success of this generation and for the students to see how much positive feeling there is out there for them and to model that if they wanted to change something, they could too.”
Thank you to whoever put the post-it notes on my door. Mrs Tasker handed them to me on Monday morning on my return and they certainly put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.
An update on the ‘pie competition’ from Mrs Ryan;
“On Friday 20th March, Grace Callaghan and Leah Robinson represented Wellington School in the finals of the “Great Cheshire Pie Maker” competition at Reaseheath College. Both pupils had done extremely well to reach the finals, competing against over 30 schools (with 3 entries each) across the region.
The girls had two hours to bake a pie based on a sporting theme. It was a great opportunity as they were able to use equipment generally used in industry, as well as observing how pupils in other schools work.
Although both Grace and Leah did a fantastic job the competition was fierce and neither girl placed in the top three. We all agree it was a great day though and one the girls will not forget.”
Thank you for giving the girls this opportunity, Mrs Ryan, I’m sure they are most grateful and benefited hugely from the experience.
Miss Hoban, Mr Webb and Miss Warburton (I thought she’d left?!) accompanied 9D Spanish to “Tapas y a la carta” on Wednesday and by all accounts they had a lovely time, sampling lots of delicious tapas dishes. “It was great to see them enjoying the food and also it was fantastic ‘to bring a lesson to life’! Look out for their article in the next newsletter.”
Mrs Stephens would like to congratulate 9.3 for the fantastic projects that they produced on the topic of ‘inspirational figures’. The pupils were given the opportunity to create a project from a range of inspirational individuals including Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Muhammad Ali and the Dalai Lama. The class put in an incredible amount of time and effort and the end products were extremely pleasing.
Well done year 9, keep up the good work!
Due to my Friday morning departure to London last week, I didn’t pick up this report about Science Week from Mrs Brown until this week. My apologies but better late than never!
“This week (16th-20th March) has been British Science Week which has been celebrated whole-heartedly by the Science department.
All KS3 lessons have been following the special theme of ‘What lurks beneath?’ with activities on using chemical testing procedures to identify water pollutants, using maggots to determine time of death of an organism (entomology) and using medical imaging to diagnose illness.
On Tuesday, 174 Year 7 pupils went to Chester Zoo to study animal habitats and behaviour. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially as it is baby animal season so there were lots of cute moments. The new Orang-utan was my favourite.
On Wednesday, 8 6th form students attended an excellent tour and talk at The Christie hospital about medical physics and diagnostics. The lectures were fascinating and very informative. I think we have some future medical physicists amongst us!
There was also a ‘Whizz, Bang …’ Demonstration Science Club with a huge turn out and lots of amazing sites to be seen.
Finally we celebrated the solar eclipse by making sun projection screens and pinhole cameras to safely view the wondrous site.
A fantastic week enjoyed by staff and pupils alike.”
A report of a fun, physics follow-up (say that after a few glasses of wine) to Science Week from Miss Lee;
“This week saw our Year 11 Physicists take a well-deserved break from the stresses of mock exams and revision with a trip to Alton Towers. Don't worry - they had to do a little work! Alton Towers was running their own Science week and students were able to apply their knowledge of forces, acceleration, energy transfers and circular motion to the rides as well as experience them first hand too! A great day was had by all and hopefully the short break has given them a new impetus to prepare for their summer exams.”
Finally from Mr (Science) Williams; “A group of Year 10 and year 12 students were taken to Chester Zoo to have a workshop on the work of zoos on conservation. Students completed some group activities involving observations of Painted Dogs and Asian elephants. The talks were informative and allowed year 12 to apply their knowledge of conservation and also gave year 10 students an insight into content being studied at A Levels. As always the students were brilliant and fantastic representatives of the school. The only issue was Mrs Brown restraining Mr Williams from buying more toy animals in the shop for his lab!!”
Return fixtures this week were held against Ashton-on-Mersey’
Year 7 were hoping to reverse the narrow defeat suffered at the hands of Ashton in the Autumn term. Alas, it wasn’t to be! The boys struggled to adjust positionally to the huge pitch at Bowdon Rugby Club (our kind hosts as always) and defensively we were poor in the first half. We did adapt as the game progressed and ultimately it was an open, fluid and entertaining spectacle for the good number of parents who came to watch. We lost 15-24 in the end, which was disappointing following the win at St Ambrose last week, but the boys will have learned a lot form this experience on an organisational level but also about desire when the ‘chips are down’. Luke Frahill-Jones and Toby Allen were outstanding. We hope to finish the 15-a-side season as we began it with a victory against Stretford Grammar next Wednesday at Bowdon.
The Year 8 team, with only one defeat to their name this season, had comfortably defeated Ashton in their first encounter. Things were heading in the same direction with a comprehensive 5-27 lead at half time. The second half was a somewhat scrappy affair, according to Mr Morgan and Mr O’Rourke, but the boys maintained their discipline despite certain challenges and ran out 31-44 winners in the end. Some strong performances from the likes of Marcus Jones and James Drummond and good use of the boot from Henry Howarth but MoM was awarded to James Buckley, who was described as a ‘machine’ by Mr Morgan. Mr O’Rourke text me on Tuesday evening to say how proud we should be of the conduct of these young men.
One of the benefits of our all-weather pitch has been a greater focus on the sports of hockey, tennis and lacrosse, and their development is set to continue. Miss Richards has forwarded this report of the Trafford lacrosse tournament this week;
“The Year 7 and 8 boys and girls lacrosse teams have trained hard over the last few weeks to take part in a Trafford tournament.
The tournament was held at Timperley Sports Club on Tuesday and the two coaches who have delivered the training, Coleen and Tim, were there to support us.
The evening was a little chilly especially when it began to hailstone but both teams pressed on regardless.
The girls played against Sale Grammar and narrowly lost with Georgina Scrace receiving the ‘girl of the game’ accolade. The boys‘team were victorious, scoring 17 goals, giving Jake Lineham ‘man of the tournament’.
Well done to all who took part; a fantastic achievement!”
Miss Hodges writes …“16 year 9 pupils travelled to Warrington Magistrates court on Saturday with Miss Hodges to compete in the North West heat of the National Mock trial competition. The pupils have been researching, planning and rehearsing the case since last October so have been eagerly awaiting the competition. The pupils all had their own roles to perform, including Lawyers, Witnesses, Ushers, Legal advisers, Magistrates, Court reporters and Court artists. Our defence team won their case against Lymn High when the defendant was found not guilty and our prosecution team were narrowly beaten by Calday Grange Grammar school when their defendant was also found not guilty. The pupils each took their individual roles very seriously and were able to perform very well on the day, they were able to alter their questioning / answering dependant on how the trial was progressing and they were very clear and confident when they were speaking. It’s lovely to see how much progress the students have made through the course of the programme, especially those who were very quiet and shy at the start! Although they didn’t win, they have all had fantastic success in developing their confidence and communication skills.”
This sort of activity and experience is close to my heart as I hold the firm belief that we have to get students talking more. It may seem an obvious and rather simplistic concept but we have a duty to develop the self-confidence of young people which ultimately will render them better communicators in various mediums and contexts. Presentations, debates, group discussions, peer coaching, role-play … there is so much scope for this and we need to provide regular opportunities for students. They may not appreciate being ‘forced’ (gently coaxed) to participate now but it will be of great benefit in the future.
I often end my bulletin with a sporting reference and as such there are those who believe me to be a sports obsessive. I would suggest that I am passionate rather than obsessed. I do, however, consider the role of sport / physical activity in schools to be invaluable. At the end of a long day of speeches and workshops at the conference last Saturday, I settled in the hotel bar with colleagues and a shandy to enjoy the England v France 6 Nations encounter. What a game! I even had friends who are die-hard footballing bigots with a distaste for rugby on the verge of conversion. The game was illustrative of the very best in sport with both teams giving their all physically and mentally, providing a hugely entertaining spectacle of human endeavour with lots at stake and yet played in a good spirit (generally). Despite the outcome both teams displayed dignity and grace at the end. A great example to young people.
A couple of quotes to end with, both carrying a similar and important message to our students;
“If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best possible substitute for it.”
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”
Grit, resilience and character are high on our agenda and think teachers and parents need to articulate and model these things to our youngsters if they are going to make a success of this summer’s exams and their lives beyond.
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to put you clocks forward tomorrow night!
S P Beeley
Welcome to Wellington School
Thank you for taking the time to view our website. I would like to begin by saying what an absolute honour it is to be the Headteacher of such an outstanding school. I relish the challenge of maintaining the exceptional standards established over many years and, indeed, moving Wellington forward in the future.
Wellington School is an 11 – 18 Academy with Humanities Specialism. Our motto is ‘Excellence in Everything’ and that is our aim in everything we do. To achieve this, high standards are expected of all our students and staff. All of our work is anchored in the values of mutual respect, responsibility, discipline, care for the individual and high achievement.
We are proud of our school and the achievements of our students, and our success is reflected in our popularity. High levels of student attendance and above average academic achievement – compared to schools both locally and nationally – are a clear sign of the value students and parents place on the experience of being part of Wellington School community.
We hope you enjoy our website and find it both informative and useful.
Stuart Beeley, Headteacher
I am pleased to publish the results and my thoughts on the latest Kirkland Rowell Parent Survey - please see the new tab at the top of the page ' Parent Survey 2013'.